News & Press: NAIFA-Wisconsin E-Newsletter

Legislative Session Ends for 2018; Special Elections Added in Two Districts

Friday, April 6, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Bill McClenahan
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The state Senate and Assembly held the final days of session in March, meaning they are unlikely to be back until January 2019, following this year’s November 6 general elections. Primaries will be held August 14, where needed.

In a new development, however, special elections will be held on June 12 to fill vacancies in two legislative districts, with primaries on May 15. The 1st Senate District seat was held by Frank Lasee (R – De Pere), while the 42nd Assembly District was represented by Keith Ripp (R – Lodi). Both lawmakers resigned in December to take jobs in Governor Scott Walker’s administration. Both seats will also be up again in November.

The special elections will be seen as dry runs for the fall races, which will include all 99 Assembly seats and 17 of the 33 state Senate seats, in addition to statewide partisan offices like Governor and Attorney General.

Although the Legislature will not be in session, the Governor’s administration and legislators will begin working on legislation for the 2019-2020 session. Issues that could come up next session may include topics such suitability standards for annuities, adequacy of health care networks, short-duration long-term care policies and proposals defining what actions financial professionals can take when they suspect financial abuse of senior citizens.

New laws adopted at the end of this session included a proposal by Governor Walker to provide reinsurance to help control premiums in the Affordable Care Act marketplace, encouraging more insurers to participate. The state would pay 80 percent of the cost of claims between $50,000 and $250,000, at a cost of about $200 million in state and federal funds. Federal approval of the plan is required. NAIFA supported the proposal.

The Legislature also federalized some of the tax changes that were enacted by the federal government in December, including provisions relating to individual retirement accounts, discharge of student loan indebtedness and use of distributions from 529 accounts for private elementary and secondary school expenses. The Governor is expected to sign it into law.

The Senate also concurred in an Assembly bill that repeals the requirement to send a non-renewal notice when a similar policy is being issued by an affiliated company, to help prevent confusion to consumers. The Governor is expected to sign the bill.

A bill that would have allowed industry-based associations and chambers of commerce to create self-funded groups for health insurance passed the Assembly but was not taken up by the Senate. Such groups may have been able to avoid some insurance mandates.

National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors-Wisconsin

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